Definition of panache
- The palace guard had a panache on his helmet.
- flashed his … smile and waved with the panache of a big-city mayor
- —Joe Morgenstern
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
She played the role of hostess with great panache.
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Few can match the panache of French poet and soldier Cyrano de Bergerac. In his dying moments, he declared that the one thing left to him was his panache, and that assertion at once demonstrates the meaning of the word and draws upon its history. Panache derives via Middle French from Late Latin pinnaculum, meaning "small wing" or "gable," a root that also gave English the word pinnacle. In both French and English, panache originally referred to a showy, feathery plume on a hat or helmet; its "dashing" figurative sense developed from the verve and swagger of one bold enough to wear such an adornment in public. When the dying Cyrano turned his huge nose heavenward and spoke of his panache, his nose became the literal and figurative pinnacle of a multifaceted pun.
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